Social Media: Sales Tool or Storytelling Platform?
caitlin caitlin
Social Media Marketing
March 16,2016

Social Media: Sales Tool or Storytelling Platform?

Social media strategy is crucial for your brand… blah blah blah.

We all know this. We’ve all heard the stats. The real issue with the consumer-business relationship that is facilitated by social media is the balance between complete irrelevance and a pure sales pitch.

I’m not saying that sales and genuine engagement are mutually exclusive; indeed, engagement is a means to an end (with the end being fulfilling conversion goals). But organisations that prioritise selling over engagement (or get too trigger-happy with random posts) will probably end up hoist on their own petard.

So how can you nail this tricky concept as flawlessly as some of the most recognisable brands on social media?

First, understand that consumers aren’t silly

Just like girls on Tinder, consumers can recognise weak corporate pick-up lines a mile away. Drop the cheesy come-ons and tired calls-to-action and create genuine content with genuine value. Still don’t get it? Spend a few minutes scrolling through the Facebook page dedicated to calling out corporate clichés.

Next, understand the journey from engagement to conversion

In order to make the most of your social media engagement, you really do have to appreciate and understand how it plays into the bigger picture. Studies show that when used effectively, social channels can:

  • Boost website traffic
  • Have high lead-to-close rates
  • Increase brand awareness for new customers while simultaneously increasing brand loyalty for existing customers.

As an example, a new customer’s journey may look like this:

  1. Being exposed to shared or paid content on their feed
  2. Visiting the brand page on social media
  3. Viewing, identifying with and engaging in other posts
  4. Visiting the organisation’s website
  5. Completing website goals (for example, downloading brochures, making an enquiry or purchasing online).

Once you have an understanding of this path, you can work backwards to create valuable content that drives people through the funnel.

Who really #nailedit?

If you have a few minutes, make sure you check out GoPro’s social channels. As the king of user-generated content, every piece they share represents the brand and generates interest – not only are the images themselves incredible (i.e. shareable), they represent everything GoPro claims to be about: adventure, excitement, and quality visuals.

How does this translate to your own strategy?

It’s pretty simple – while not every product or service lends itself to user-generated content, you can certainly involve your audience in a way that is genuine and authentic. If you’re starting out with a small following, don’t be afraid to dedicate some time to creating buyer guides, whitepapers or tips and tricks specific to your niche that you can share without asking for anything in return. Most channels are pay-to-play these days as well, so splashing a few bucks to promote a solid post to your target audience is likely to pay off in the grand scheme of things.


  • Make a strategy that doesn’t look like a strategy from the outside – people like buying from people, not companies, so an obvious ‘campaign’ approach can be difficult to pull off if you don’t have a full creative team behind you to smooth every rough edge.
  • Get inspiration from topics you’ve already seen perform well – let others do the testing for you, then create posts that offer more value for the same material.
  • Build rapport with influencers in your niche – name dropping can not only help your brand’s credibility, it can also create opportunities for those influencers to share your content with their network.
  • When sharing on your owned platforms (your on-site blog, content hub or anything else that is actually yours), optimise your content for organic traffic.

Posting checklist

Before you create a piece of content for social channels, think about these things:

  1. Is it relevant to my audience?
  2. Is it new, informative, interesting or important?
  3. Would your audience be worse off if they didn’t view this piece of content?
  4. Do both the written and visual components reflect your brand personality and positioning?
  5. Do you offer value to the reader without expecting something in return?

And if you ever intend to post something that could be controversial (or even just for standard posts!), ask yourself:

  1. What are the potential consequences of publishing this? Are they outweighed by the anticipated benefits?

Making your mark amongst the memes doesn’t have to be hard! Are you a diehard fan of solid social strategy or do you prefer to wing it?

Social Media Marketing
March 16,2016

Author: caitlin

Caitlin is all about that content life. When she isn’t spending hours agonising over synonyms and sentence cadence, she enjoys lifting things off the ground and running.

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